Ori and the Blind Forest - Xbox One

Release Date:

11 March 2015

Viewing UK:

Also on USA.
8.8

Summary:

Ori and the Blind Forest is a masterfully crafted action-adventure platformer that combines exploratory gameplay with a heart-wrenching emotional narrative. Powered by the Unity Engine, Ori and the Blind Forest combines beautiful visuals and a cinematic score for an unforgettable experience. Join Ori, the last spirit guardian, as he discovers the mysteries of a dying forest while escaping the evil clutches of Kuro, the dark owl. Play through a beautifully created environment while combating Kuro and completing in-game puzzles to help Ori save the blind forest.

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Posted:
2015-07-19

Darren_Summerell

Writer

Xbox One

8.7

Ori and the Blind Forest was developed by the people over at Moon Studios for the Xbox One and later released by Microsoft Game Studios. Masterfully blending a unique artstyle, a soaring soundtrack, and a riveting story - this sidescrolling adventure RPG quickly ascended the ranks to cult like status. We decided to pick up the game for our Xbox 1 in order to travel the world that Moon Studios so capably crafted. With blooming HD graphics and an amazing score, we were quickly enraptured by the game that displayed itself before us. Keep on reading to see if this is the kind of game you need to add to your library, though we are confident that it is.

To call Ori and the Blind Forest a simple Metroidvania knock off would do a disservice to the people who made the game and those who have already experienced it. So instead I will describe it as the magic of Disney meeting the power of a deftly crafted, tight, action RPG experience. Sound intriguing? Keep reading.

The story starts out with a beautiful and disastrous freak storm throwing down a creature named Orio from his home world, the branches of the greatest tree that the Forest of Nibel has to offer. Ori is stranded in the woods when he comes across a slightly humanoid, bear like creature named Naru. This creature nurses Ori back to health and instantly assumes the role of mother and protector. When Ori awakes he finds that Naru has become a surrogate parent. This seemingly innocuous beginning serve sonly to further entrench the drama that is approaching: the world of Nibel is in trouble. A darkness is approaching and Ori must once more become the guardian of light that Nibel needs.

Upon loading the game up I was instantly amazed by the beautiful score that overlayed the mystical and fantastic graphics. The art direction in Ori and the Blind Forest is borderline flawless. Each frame leaps to life with alacrity and a mysticism about it. Ori is a beautiful creature, full of light, and Naru is this gorgeously designed bear that imbues both stoic strength and motherly love. This isn’t just a side scrolling adventure. This is an experience that has been borderline unrivaled in recent years. Ori and the Blind Forest is an open book that comes to life in front of you. The hand drawn artwork adds so much depth and heart that sometimes I would catch myself just staring into the depth and texture that each scene offered us, and there were many scenes: icy caves, wooded glens, flower filled caverns, and giant volcanoes.

All that is to say that the graphics become second to both the tight gameplay and the stellar story. More than anything, Ori and the Blind Forest pulls you along with its anthemic soundtrack and intriguing story. It’s easy to see where the story is divided into three very separate acts: the fall, the death, and the redemption. Whose fall? Whose redemption? We shall let you find that out first hand, it’s a spoiler that will severely take away from your first enjoyment of the series. At its heart, what we can say, is that Ori and the Blind Forest is a coming of age tale that will be hard pressed to be topped by any artwork, in any medium.

But all of the above mentioned beauty doesn’t matter if the game is not technically proficient. Fortunately Ori and the Blind Forest exists within a medium that doesn’t demand too much for its gameplay elements. In the side scrolling action RPG world it is relatively easy to fall in line and deliver only the basics: movement, a few special attacks, and interesting puzzle sequences. Ori and the Blind Forest doesn’t let themselves get restricted.

As you play the game you will change between Ori and Naru and the two creatures play dramatically different from one another. Ori is fast, light on the wind, and capable of athletic sequences. Naru has to use logic and go at a slower, more methodical pace in order to progress. Ori himself can learn a dozen different maneuvers to use while in the game and each one builds on the move prior. Adventuring through the Forest of Nibel is no easy task, not without some practice, but once you get the hang of how to move within the space you will be traveling with ease.

If you are somehow laboring under the idea that this is an action-y sort of game, despite the heavy focus on story, then we should probably clarify further. While there are action elements, and tense sequences, the game does not rely on them to maintain your interest. In fact, combat itself is relatively rare. When fighting does begin it occurs in short bursts that serve to wake you up more than challenge you. Still, that does not mean that the game itself is simple or easy. Death is common place in the Blind Forest. You’ll probably die and restart a level a dozen times before getting through. But death isn’t punishment and it isn’t aggravating, either. You can use each experience to learn the sequences and improve your overall connection to the world.

We also enjoyed a simple addition to Ori that many games don’t do any more: Quicksave. Quicksave systems on console gaming is pretty rare, but it works wonderfully here. Gamers are able to dip in and out of the adventure at their convenience while also saving before difficult sequences. Hold the B button down for long enough and a marker will appear in order to create a save point. This allows you to engage in some flexibility with where you re-start. If you get past a super difficult cave make sure to make a save. Likewise, make one before going into the cave to begin with.

While Ori and the Blind Forest on the Xbox One isn’t flawless, there are some issues with collectables, it is one of the most refined games we have played in years.

Submitted by Cheat Title Rating
profile Moderator Unlockable Achievements.
Jun 20, 2015
10

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Release Date:

11/03/2015

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